To call this NBA season “unprecedented” would be an understatement. Between LeBron James’ quest for what might be his final ring, a new technology that could potentially save players’ lives, and the “bubble” itself, NBA players and fans are adapting to a brand new basketball world.
While effectively quarantining the entire league brought its own set of challenges, it seems like it’s mostly working so far. However, some players’ families are taking the separation hard.
Gordon Hayward’s wife, Robyn posts on Instagram
.On July 8, 2020, Celtics media picked up an Instagram post from Gordon Hayward’s wife Robyn. She discussed how they’d effectively signed up for months of travel, but not all at the same time with total separation from the family. Hayward left three children at home to go play in Orlando for months. Robyn’s post explained that there’d be a fourth the next time the Gordon family reunited.
In the Eastern Conference, everyone understandably has their eyes on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Behind the 56-17 Milwaukee team, the Celtics are fighting with the Heat and the Raptors for second place.
Alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis, and Marcus Smart, Hayward is quietly leading the Celtics to a strong playoff lead. Hayward’s former teammate Rudy Gobert was at the center of the initial COVID-19 spread in the NBA. Meanwhile, it seems like the players in the bubble are acclimating, even if some are worried about their health.
The Celtics’ chance at the title
The Celtics are in a position to contend for the Eastern Conference championship. The Bucks are favorites, but Boston has a great chance to pull off the upset. And they wouldn’t be able to do it without Hayward. Although he plays forward, he contributes everywhere on the floor.
Potentially his biggest contribution to the team is his selflessness. When Jaylen Brown signed a $115 million contract and began dominating headlines, Hayward went on record saying the Celtics were right to make the offer and that Brown was worth every penny.
Behind Hayward and Brown (not to mention the surging Tatum) the Celtics have the potential to beat anyone. James and the Lakers are scary, the Clippers have talent at every position, and the Bucks are at the top of the East. The Celtics have a long way to go if they want to lift the championship trophy, but they have the talent to do it.
The future of the NBA bubble
As the NBA moves forward, fans feel it’s a breath of fresh air. Nearly every other major sport is on hold, with the carefully-contained UFC and golf leagues allowed to go forward. In other countries that have done a better job of containing the virus, many sports have completely returned. However, the NBA bubble will be the USA’s first attempt at a return to normalcy. Fan attendance is still a long, long way away.
But if fans are feeling the brunt of it, players’ families have it even worse. Robyn’s heartfelt Instagram post detailed what a lot of spouses and families feel. It’s a new experience and the players deserve credit for their willingness to step into the bubble and play ball. But the reason the bubble is working is, in part, thanks to the players’ families.